The Artist: Le Pho
Le Pho was a French Vietnamese painter whose career began in Paris as a scholarship student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and then in Hanoi at the Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts de Indochine. Along with other Vietnamese ex-patriat painters including Mai Trung Thur, Vu Cao Dam, and others his career spanned periods in Vietnam, France, and in the United States.
The documentation of paintings is important to its authenticity. It validates an artist’s style at a particular time. While finely executed and of a beautiful subject matter, the fact that this painting retains its original purchase receipt from 1966 is remarkable. Currently on iGavel closing on February 28th. Click here
Below is a similar example that recently sold at Sotheby’s:
Among this group, Le Pho enjoyed considerable success and his works regularly appear at auction. Le Pho, whose works draw from impressionists and surrealist sources, are characterized by a lithe representation of the human form reminiscent of works by Modigliani (more info) and in his later years, using splashes of brilliant color.
French Indochina comprised political regions governed by France during the late 19th century of Annam, Tonkin, and Cochinchina, which are the modern states of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (more info).
The origins of French involvement with southeast Asia extend back to trade in spices and other materials during the 17th century, by traders and Jesuit missionaries (more info).
The French government sought stronger control over territories in the region to protect their trading investments.
Political interventions were often accompanied by military force throughout the 19th century, keeping the port cities of
Annam and Tonkin under French control. Cambodia became a protectorate of France and concessions and treaties established control of regions of Thailand and Vietnam forming French Indochina in 1887, a political confederation that survived until 1954.
French art and architecture flourished in Indochina, incorporating elements of regional influence in a Beaux Arts style,where grand buildings were built in economic and cultural centers. Travel by artists, architects, and other culturally influential individuals brought these influences to Paris.
The colonial architecture of this period in what was French indochina is today being restored. Among these distinctive structures are the formerly Musee Louis Finot, which is now the National Museum of Vietnamese History in Hanoi (more info) and the Presidential Palace (more info). As this restoration takes place painters such as Le Pho and other artists whose styles uniquely displayed European and Southeast Asian influences are widely recognized.
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